The Seahawks have gone from laughingstock to Super Bowl participant to laughingstock to …..well don’t get carried away. If it wasn’t for the creative mind of the jovial head coach, they’d probably be mired in the bottom tier of the NFL, but for as much as Pete Carroll was derided for returning to the NFL after failed stints with the Jets and Pats, he has done wonders in Seattle. His draft strategy is off the wall when it comes to picking according to the status quo. He has found gems in late round selections and sees things in first rounders that nobody else sees (Bruce Irvin, James Carpenter). His up and coming defense is on the verge of stardom, his number 1 running back, Marshawn Lynch was lost in Buffalo and found in Seattle, but his main claim to fame is milking every last drop out of the mediocrity he inherited when arriving here. Take note of some of the later round draft selections who have flourished under Carroll:
- Russell Wilson-Rd 3
- Doug Baldwin-UFA
- K.J Wright-Rd 4
- Richard Sherman-Rd 5
- Walter Thurmond-Rd 4
- Kam Chancellor-Rd 5
Obviously, Carroll and his draft party know how to evaluate talent. Anyhow, enough man love for Carroll and on to the Offensive Linemen that will be protecting either Russell Wilson or Matt Flynn. Left Tackle is Russell Okung, Left Guard is Paul McQuistan, Center is Max Unger, Right Guard temporarily is J.R Sweezy until John Moffitt returns and Right Tackle is Breno Giacomini.
Left Tackle Russell Okung was a 1st round draft selection of the Seahawks in 2010. He has battled injuries throughout his brief career but is a difference maker when healthy. He uses his leverage well on defensive players and creates gaping holes for Marshawn Lynch to explode through. He has to cut down on the number of penalties as he has incurred 10 in 22 starts to go along with 9 sacks given up in that period.
Left Guard Paul McQuistan was a 3rd round selection of the Oakland Raiders in 2005. He is very versatile as he has played LT, LG and RG all in the past year. Considering he did not see any game action in 2010, that was pretty impressive to enter the lineup and hold your own. He only allowed 5 sacks playing all three positions in 2011. He has really nice height for the position and is expected to be the opening day starter at Left Guard.
Center Max Unger was a 2nd round pick of the Seahawks in 2009. Unger was decent as the starting Center in 2011 and should continue to grow and develop with each passing game. He is quite tall for a Center so he struggles at times to get his pad level below those of the defensive rushers. He was only penalized twice last year and only allowed 1.5 sacks.
Right Guard J.R Sweezy is listed as the starting player at least until incumbent John Moffitt returns. Sweezy was a 7th round selection in the 2012 Draft. He actually is a converted Defensive Tackle and is not a decent weight for the position. He will need to put on some weight to avoid being completely blown away by defensive pass rushers.
Right Tackle Breno Giacomini was taken by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round of the 2008 Draft. He was a pleasant surprise on the right side last year only giving up 2 sacks. One of the reaches that Pete Carroll made was for James Carpenter who was expected to man the right side but was completely overwhelmed and then suffered a season ending knee injury. When Carpenter returns he’ll have to compete with the more overly rounded Giacomini.
Now to analyze the numbers…..
Seattle ranked 19th in Total Run Blocking in 2011 allowing Marshawn Lynch, Leon Washington and Justin Forsett to run for 4.12 yards per carry which was below the NFL average of 4.31. The RB’s were stopped at/or behind the line of scrimmage on only 18% of their attempts which was better than the NFL average of 19%. They achieved first downs on 3rd/4th down runs 73% of the time which was 2nd best in the NFL. The Seahawks ran the ball 390 times in 2011 and will continue that philosophy in 2012. They had their least success running the ball off the RT as they only gained 2.05 yards per carry and that was the 3rd worst in the NFL. They had much more success running behind the LT position as they averaged 4.49 yards per carry. From a Fantasy perspective Marshawn Lynch is a beast. He is the hardest runner in the league and does not shy away from hits one bit. Check out this video of Lynch breaking the Saints hearts in the 2010 playoffs. watch?v=ynn7VGY2Asc Lynch is Fantasy Gold in the Hawks Offense and is a RB1 or definite RB2. He scored 14 total TD’s in 2011 and had almost 1400 yards running and receiving. Take him early in your Fantasy Drafts like rounds 2 or 3 and feel confident he won’t be a bust. His backup is Robert Turbin who is a short yardage guy but make no mistake….this is Lynch’s backfield.
The Seahawks ranked 24th in Pass Protection allowing ex QB Tarvaris Jackson to be sacked on 8.1% of his dropbacks which was well worse than the 6.7% that the NFL averaged. Some of the reason for this was that Jackson tried too hard to make something out of nothing. At least this year Seattle has a slightly better receiving corps with the additions of Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards. From a Fantasy perspective, I would avoid the whole Seattle QB situation due to Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn being unproven. You don’t want to overdraft either guy and find out that you now have an Arizona situation on your hands. WR Sidney Rice is the number 1 guy that most Football fans know, but he is not the number 1 option for us Fantasy guys. That distinction goes to Doug Baldwin, who is more versatile. The rest of the receiving crew is Braylon Edwards, Ben Obomanu, and Golden Tate. Considering that the Seahawks are going to be running through Marshawn Lynch I would not rush to draft anybody except Baldwin who you can pick up in late rounds. The Tight Ends are Zach Miller and Kellen Winslow. Miller went from being a borderline TE1 in Oakland to an afterthought in Darrell Bevell’s offense, so adding another Tight End won’t be conducive to Miller’s value. Draft Baldwin and Lynch is what the final verdict is.
Thanks to www.footballoutsiders.com for the statistics
Next team is the St. Louis Rams